Paleontology dating fossils

Confirmation of the Warrawoona microstructures as cyanobacteria would profoundly impact our understanding of when and how early life diversified, pushing important evolutionary milestones further back in time (reference).

The continued study of these oldest fossils is paramount to calibrate complementary molecular phylogenetics models.

While most fossils are several thousands to several billions of years old, there is no minimum age for a fossil.

The study of fossils across geological time, how they were formed, and the evolutionary relationships between taxa (phylogeny) are some of the most important functions of the science of paleontology.

These formations may have resulted from carcass burial in an anoxic environment with minimal bacteria, thus delaying decomposition.

Lagerstätten span geological time from the Cambrian period to the present.

Earth’s oldest fossils are the stromatolites consisting of rock built from layer upon layer of sediment and precipitants.

Based on studies of now-rare (but living) stromatolites (specifically, certain blue-green bacteria), the growth of fossil stromatolitic structures was biogenetically mediated by mats of microorganisms through their entrapment of sediments.

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